Pre­fer­ring time alone

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Pets - By LISA MOORE

AS pup­pies grow into dogs, they ma­ture to the point of not want­ing to so­cialise in the same man­ner as they once did, which is nor­mal and ex­pected.

It is the same for peo­ple. When you’re young, you meet up with other young­sters – at the park, on the play­ground, etc. Chil­dren chase each other and rough-house, which builds strength and co-or­di­na­tion. They play with toys, they learn to share, they prac­tise ac­tions that will be ac­cepted by oth­ers, and learn to mod­ify be­hav­iour that gets them into trou­ble. In short, child’s play teaches life skills, in phys­i­cal and emo­tional ways.

As adults, our style of play and in­ter­ac­tion with oth­ers changes. Play­ground romps turn into fam­ily BBQs. You so­cialise with oth­ers you find en­joy­able; you share sto­ries. You learn how to seek out com­pat­i­ble friends at cock­tail par­ties, and you’d likely be not only sur­prised but an­gry if some­one tack­led you like they did as a child dur­ing horse­play at the lo­cal park.

This same mat­u­ra­tion process hap­pens with dogs. Pup­pies go through a very so­cial pe­riod of de­vel­op­ment – learn­ing how to play with one an­other, how to share, life lessons like “if I bite too hard, no one will play with me”.

As they ma­ture, they turn to more adult be­hav­iours, some of which are in­flu­enced by in­her­ited ge­netic traits. The sport­ing breeds will nat­u­rally want to look for and flush game; the herd­ing breeds will want to chase and move oth­ers; the guard­ing breeds will be­come more se­ri­ous and be­gin to guard. This is the nat­u­ral course of mat­u­ra­tion.

Of course, there are al­ways ex­cep­tions. Some dogs do en­joy an ex­tended pe­riod into adult­hood where be­ing so­cial and play­ful with other dogs is still en­joy­able. This most of­ten oc­curs in the breeds that are se­lec­tively bred to be mild-man­nered, like Labrador and Golden re­triev­ers, etc. But most dogs even­tu­ally out­grow the de­sire to have lots of so­cial con­tact with other dogs.

So, it is no sur­prise that for a puppy that has grown into a dog, be­ing placed in an en­vi­ron­ment with other dogs of var­i­ous ages and play skills is no longer his favourite thing. It’s the owner’s job to in­ter­pret his pet’s be­hav­iour and “read” what he is say­ing. Dogs that are not en­joy­ing them­selves among a group of oth­ers will of­ten hang out at the perime­ter, spend more time sniff­ing and in­ves­ti­gat­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, and may snap at or chase off oth­ers if they come too close or per­sist in in­sti­gat­ing play. The dog isn’t be­hav­ing badly; he’s sim­ply try­ing to com­mu­ni­cate.

Want to do the very best for your dog? “Lis­ten” to what he is say­ing. Make more one-on-one time for him. Give him the ex­er­cise and at­ten­tion he needs, from you. Teach him some tricks and play games with him to keep him men­tally stim­u­lated. Hire a neigh­bour or a dog-walker to give him ex­er­cise and at­ten­tion in a way he prefers. And when it comes to day care or dog parks, re­mem­ber that it’s not about your wants or needs – it’s about what is best for your dog. – The Modesto Bee/Tri­bune News Ser­vice

— Dream­stime/TNS

You can hire a neigh­bour or a pet­sit­ter to give your dog some ex­er­cise and at­ten­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.